Neuvilly is a small village 6
kilometres north-north-west of Le Cateau on the road to Valenciennes (D955).
The Communal Cemetery and extension are on the north side of the village
outskirts and on the north side of the main road (D955).
captured by the 17th Division temporarily on 10 October 1918, and taken
finally on 17 October. Burials in two of the three cemeteries made after the
fighting were later removed to other burial grounds; buried in the third,
the extension to the communal cemetery, are casualties from the period 10th
October to 2nd November 1918, most of them belonging to the 17th Division,
and many to the 12th Manchesters.
VC, 10th Bn. Lancashire Fusiliers, killed in
action 12/10/1918 aged 22, row B. 15.
Son of John and Ellen Lester, of Miller's Hay, Irby, Birkenhead. Born
at Huyton, Liverpool.
Citation: An extract from
"The London Gazette," No. 31067, dated 13th Dec., 1918, records the
following:- " For most conspicuous bravery and self-sacrifice during the
clearing of the village of Neuvilly, on 12th October, 1918, when, with a
party of about seven men under an officer, he was the first to enter a house
from the back door, and shot 2 Germans as they attempted to get out by the
front door. A minute later a fall of masonry blocked the door by which the
party had entered. The only exit into the street was under fire at
point-blank range. The street was also swept by fire of machine guns at
close range. Observing that an enemy sniper was causing heavy casualties to
a party in a house across the street, Pte. Lester exclaimed, " I'll settle
him," and, dashing out into the street, shot the sniper at close quarters,
falling mortally wounded at the same instant. This gallant man well knew it
was certain death to go into the street, and the party opposite was faced
with the alternative of crossing the fire-swept street or staying where it
was and being shot one by one. To save their lives he sacrificed his own."
Casualty Details: UK 101, Total Burials: 101
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